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Gun used at Pittsburgh crime scene traced back to New Jersey police, part of alarming trend for former service weapons

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Gun used at Pittsburgh crime scene traced back to New Jersey police, part of alarming trend for former service weapons


How former cop guns end up in criminal hands

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How former police guns are ending up in the hands of criminals

04:24

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When a police department upgrades its guns, what happens to the old ones? A CBS News investigation found tens of thousands of these former service weapons land at crime scenes across the country.

In a 16-year period ending in 2022, the ATF identified more than 52,000 guns recovered from crime scenes that were once used by police agencies. It took a federal court order for the ATF to release that data.

In one case, serial numbers obtained from police mapped a weapon’s path from Newark, New Jersey, through New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, and ultimately to a crime scene in Pittsburgh.

Shots fired in Pittsburgh

On July 14, 2019, 12 shots were fired in the Northview Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Police searched the area and didn’t find anyone shot, but they did find the gun, ditched near Hazlett Street.

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An officer wrote that the gun had “numerous scrapes … consistent with it being thrown and sliding across cement,” leading police to believe the person who fired the shots tossed it as they ran away.

According to Pittsburgh Police, the gun was not reported stolen, but they also couldn’t find any record of the current owner. An ATF gun tracing report obtained by CBS shows the gun’s serial number was traced back to the Newark Police Department.

Newark police traded-in guns

Newark Police have proudly taken guns off the street for years through gun buybacks. But at the same time they have inadvertently put their own weapons back in circulation.

The Newark Police Department confirmed that they traded-in about a thousand guns in 2016 and 2017 to a firearms dealer, in exchange for discounts on new guns. That dealer then resells the weapons.

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“It makes me feel that money is more important to you than mankind,” said Newark-based anti-violence activist Pastor Jethro James. “Melt it down and make something useful out of it.”

“I don’t blame this mayor because it didn’t start with this mayor,” James said. “However, this is your time to try; step up to the plate and take your swings. You tried and because of your trying, maybe somebody is not dying, somebody’s kid is not dying.”

Many police departments trade-in weapons

Newark Police tell CBS News they have not traded-in guns in years, but they would not say whether they will do it again when it’s time to upgrade.

In partnership with the nonprofit newsrooms The Trace and Reveal, CBS News surveyed 200 police agencies nationwide and found a majority sell their guns when they decide to upgrade their arsenal.

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Police in Monroe, New York, trade-in old weapons. Police in Yonkers, New York, trade-in to a vendor that does not sell to the public. In New York City, officers are the legal owners of their guns. When upgrading, they can keep the old weapon for personal use, or sell it.

“I’m not going to penalize or say that’s wrong in any way,” said retired ATF New York Special Agent in Charge John DeVito. “I think we should have satisfactory budgets so these departments and chiefs don’t have to make hard decisions — ‘We have to trade-in these guns, we have sell these guns, in order to equip my officers.’ That’s not a decision a chief should be having to make.”

According to DeVito, ATF agents can trace a gun from one firearms dealer to another, but they can’t see which citizens might later buy them.

Tracing the gun from New Jersey to Pennsylvania

The gun used in the 2019 Pittsburgh incident was sold by Newark police to a company called Atlantic Tactical, according to documents obtained by CBS News.

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Atlantic Tactical’s website says their corporate headquarters is in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. However, CBS News found the building for sale and an online announcement said the company sold to Florida-based Safariland in 2015.

That same year, Atlantic Tactical stopped selling guns to the general public, according to their website. They now only sell to current and retired public safety personnel.

No one at the retail store in New Cumberland would do an interview and Safariland did not respond to requests for comment.

Police perspective

“It’s more common for police agencies to do things like buybacks where their objective is to get guns off the street,” said Robert Bradshaw, a crisis management consultant in New Cumberland who works with police departments.

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“In my experience, that’s probably where most of the law enforcement officers that I know — that’s how they feel. They feel there’s too many guns on the street already.”

Bradshaw also helped write the fictional book “American Roulette” about the impact of a mass shooting on an American town. The characters he created are police officers, “to highlight the fact that police officers themselves become victims of these events. They become traumatized by it. They’re changed forever.”

An unclear path to Pittsburgh

How a gun sold by Newark Police to Atlantic Tactical landed on the streets of Northview Heights in 2019 is unclear.

In a statement to CBS News, an ATF spokesperson said, “there are a few different scenarios that could have occurred. Given the range of options and not wanting to imply something incorrect, we cannot speculate on what may have led to this particular report.”

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“This sounds like it’s part and parcel of a system that is setup with so many holes in it to allow guns to get into the wrong hands,” said Josh Fleitman, the campaign director for CeaseFirePA.

Fleitman said this incident is just one example of why new gun policies should be considered.

However, a Pittsburgh area gun shop owner said he and other owners cannot just sell to anyone and face restrictions.

“We have to ask, ‘mother may I sell this gun?’ to our federal government, and they have to give us an approval number to be able to transfer that item. And then we have to have records of who bought it,” outlined Bruce Piendl, the owner of Allegheny Arms and Gun Works.

As for the gun that traveled from Newark to Northview Heights, Pittsburgh Police never did find its owner and eventually destroyed it in 2021.

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Pittsburg, PA

Trader Joe’s reportedly looking into opening location in Pittsburgh’s Strip District

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Trader Joe’s reportedly looking into opening location in Pittsburgh’s Strip District



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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Another Trader Joe’s could be coming to the Pittsburgh region. 

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According to a report from our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the grocery store chain is scouting locations in the Strip District. 

It’s believed that the site they are looking to put a new location possibly between the Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge and I-579 near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

As of now, there are three Trader Joe’s locations in Pittsburgh – East Liberty, South Hills, and McCandless Crossing. 

“We’d love to see Trader Joe’s in Downtown or on the periphery,” Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership told the PG.   

Meanwhile, Trader Joe’s did not confirm to the Post-Gazette if they are actively looking into a Strip District location. 

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“We are actively looking at hundreds of neighborhoods across the country as we hope to open more neighborhood stores each year,” spokeswoman Nakia Rohde said to the PG.   

Trader Joe’s, according to their website, has opened locations in Massachusetts, California, Washington, and New Jersey this year alone. 



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Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey talks hosting 2026 NFL Draft:

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Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey talks hosting 2026 NFL Draft:


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mayor Ed Gainey is predicting a million people will attend the 2026 NFL Draft in Pittsburgh.

He spoke one-on-one with KDKA-TV hours after being joined by Governor Josh Shapiro and Steelers owner Art Rooney at an Acrisure Stadium press conference.

Speaking directly with KDKA, we asked the mayor about the impact the draft will have on the city, what he’s learned from past drafts.

“Today is a great day,” Gainey said. “It’s extremely exciting. I think it’s great for the city.”

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Bringing the draft to Pittsburgh has been Gainey’s dream for some time. He’s made it a priority, he said, sharing he brought the idea to Art Rooney during their first meeting after Gainey took office. Gainey said the Steelers have six Super Bowl Titles, and are due to host a draft.

Gainey has watched the growth of the draft from an event inside of Radio City Music Hall to the massive outdoor event that travels to a new city each year.

“I think it explains the phenomenon of football in this nation and in this city, we are a football city we are a football county, we are a football region,” Gainey said.

It’s part of the reason he is predicting the 2026 Draft will be the biggest-ever. He thinks it could be especially popular for Pittsburgh natives who have moved away.

“This will give people the opportunity to come back and see the new Pittsburgh, see the new city, see how we are doing things nowadays,” Gainey said.

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He thinks they’ll be impressed.

Also helping attendance reach those new heights is the proximity of Pittsburgh to other NFL cities, he said. 

Asked by KDKA what he learned from his trip to the NFL Draft in Detroit, Gainey said collaboration with public safety services is critical. 

NFL Draft Football
Crowds fill an area outside of the draft stage during the second round of the NFL football draft, Friday, April 26, 2024, in Detroit.

Carlos Osorio / AP

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That goes along with making people can move around without human gridlock.

“I think going there and and listening to them having it in downtown and the impact it had for businesses inside the city was critical for me to hear and know,” Gainey said.

We asked Gainey about if the city made any commitments to the NFL to land the draft.

He responded saying everyone involved has been able to talk about the services they would deliver. 

When pressed for specific, Gainey said it’s something that could be discussed later.

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The NFL did not require any tax breaks or incentives for the draft, Gainey told KDKA.

Gainey said the NFL is working out any logistical commitments they’d be making with the city.

Governor Shapiro said at the press conference earlier in the day that Pittsburgh would have the state’s support.

“The commonwealth will make the investment,” Shapiro said. “We’re prepared to make this an awesome experience for everybody.

The 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit brought 775,000 people to the city over the course of 3 days. Gainey said Pittsburgh can hit a million.

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Visit Pittsburgh told KDKA last year that Allegheny County has 18,000 hotel rooms. 

When we told the mayor about that figure, and asked if the city has the space for the million people he predicts will attend the draft, Gainey said he believes we do.

When pressed to learn where, Gainey said he doesn’t know if the 18,000 number includes Airbnbs. In addition he said he does not know if it includes the instances where people stay with family members.

He said counties around Pittsburgh, like Westmoreland, Washington, and Butler counties will all benefit as a lot of people will stay in hotels outside Allegheny County. 

“As long as they are close they will stay at those hotels,” Gainey said.  

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During the early afternoon press conference, Visit Pittsburgh CEO Jerad Bachar said the NFL has spent a considerable amount of time in Pittsburgh figuring out logistics.

“They’re satisfied with everything that we have on offer, including the number of hotel rooms,” Bachar said.

Gainey said there is a lot of work ahead, but it will all be worth it.

“It’s all city, it’s all football, it’s all team. Let’s go get it,” Gainey said. 

We also asked the mayor about the specific location of the draft stage and how Point State Park would be used. 

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He said the NFL hasn’t finalized those details yet so they don’t have anything they can share. 



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Pittsburgh mayor predicts over 1M will attend 2026 NFL draft in his city

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Pittsburgh mayor predicts over 1M will attend 2026 NFL draft in his city


PITTSBURGH — Wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers cap, Gov. Josh Shapiro joined team and local officials inside Acrisure Stadium on Thursday to celebrate the NFL draft coming to the City of Champions in 2026.

“Pittsburgh is the absolute best choice to host the NFL draft,” said Shapiro, who promised that the state is prepared to invest in nearby Point State Park, across the Allegheny River from Acrisure, to make sure it is ready to host draft-related events.

“This is going to be a huge regional event and Allegheny County is all in,” Shapiro said.

The governor said the draft will occur during the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States in Philadelphia.

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In 2026, Shapiro said Pennsylvania will host World Cup matches, an MLB All-Star game in Philadelphia, March Madness games, the PGA Championship in Delaware County and now the NFL draft in Pittsburgh.

“This couldn’t happen at a more important time for our nation and, dare I say, a more important time for the city of Pittsburgh. This is a city and an organization on the rise,” Shapiro said. “We are showing that we can do big things in Pittsburgh and all across Pennsylvania, and I, for one, can’t wait to see the commissioner stand up and announce the final pick of the first round in the 2026 NFL draft going to the Pittsburgh Steelers after they win the Super Bowl the year before.”

Officials touted the anticipated economic boon to the city and county with Pittsburgh a day’s drive from over 10 other NFL cities and 35 Division I colleges.

Jerad Bachar, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh, said that the draft, based on previous ones, could have an economic impact between $120 million and $165 million, much of it spent at businesses such as hotels, bars and restaurants.

“We anticipate an incredible turnout for Draft Pittsburgh,” he said.

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Gov. Josh Shapiro, right, and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II listen to Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato speak during a news conference Thursday about the NFL Draft coming to Pittsburgh in 2026.Submitted

The NFL draft has become a marquee three-day event for the league as it travels around the country drawing enormous crowds to downtown areas.

An estimated 775,000 people attended this year’s draft in April in Detroit, besting the record of 600,000 set in 2019 in Nashville. In 2017, Philadelphia hosted the draft, which drew about 250,000.

“This is going to do even better,” said Shapiro, noting that Pennsylvania will become the first state to host two NFL drafts.

Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey was bolder in his predictions, though.

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“Everybody wants to talk about numbers. Here’s my number, I predict we have over a million people come to our city,” he said.

Gainey said that fans will be drawn by legendary Steelers moments such as Franco Harris’ Immaculate Reception, Lynn Swann’s “acrobatic catch” against the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X and James Harrison’s 100-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

“We have so many memories that no matter what city you go to, no matter where you’re at, one thing you will find is a Steelers bar or restaurant,” said Gainey, his voice rising as if he were giving a Sunday morning sermon.

“People remember the old times that they had to leave because of the closing of the steel mills,” he said. “Now they get to bring back their grandkids and their kids so that they can see what special place raised them up, and regardless of where they lived, why they still call our beloved city home.

Art Rooney II, the Steelers owner and president, said the 2026 draft festivities will include the main stage in the area just outside the second-floor windows of Acrisure Stadium where Thursday’s news conference was held.

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Besides events on the city’s North Side where the stadium sits, Rooney has also said that there will be activities planned for Point State Park, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers meet to form the Ohio River, as well as Downtown Pittsburgh, the Central Business District and the Strip District, an entertainment and eating destination.

“A lot of hard work went into getting to this day,” said Rooney, who added that the draft will serve as a showcase for western Pennsylvania’s deep ties to football and the many stars, including Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana to name a few, that the region has produced.

Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato said a $1.5 billion modernization project for Pittsburgh International Airport, including a new terminal, will greet visitors who should take advantage of the city’s “cultural assets” and “award-winning” food scene.

“I’m excited that people from all over will have the opportunity to truly gawk at our six Lombardi trophies and also experience our neighborliness,” she said.



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